Jan 16, 2024
Jan 16, 2024
I started freelancing 2 and a half years ago. My second full year of freelancing went significantly better than my first.
- Less → Headaches, uncertainty, failures, stress
- More → Fun, predictability, free time, income
Part of growing as a business owner is evolving your mindset. Looking back on 2023, I’ve noticed a few mindset shifts.
Focus on the client, not other designers
It’s easy to get sidetracked designing for other designers. Things you know will get those likes on Twitter.
I love the finer details of design — and by choice — will spend huge amounts of time to make sure things feel just right.
But the problem comes when your idea of great and the client’s idea of great don’t align. I’ve spent way more time than I should have on some projects and burnt through the profit margins for negligible client value.
I’m not saying cut corners. I’m saying focus on what adds value to the end result for your client.
The freelance market has ups and downs. It’s guaranteed. You’ll have busy months and you’ll have less busy months.
Which can lead to the biggest stressor as a freelancer: how and when will I get paid?
Navigating these periods is critical to be a freelancer long-term. Diversity of income will help to level out the peaks and troughs.
The best bit, the market for website templates is completely independent of the market for freelance designers.
Every project doesn’t need to be perfect
Different projects can be good for different things. There are many things that could make a project desirable: the company, the industry, a stakeholder, creative freedom, the budget, the learning opportunity and more.
Reminder: Every project doesn’t have to hit every one of these. It’s fine to take a project just for the budget, or just for the learning opportunity.
Plus, I’ve often been positively surprised by projects that didn’t seem perfect.
Repeat work is the goal
You can do very well as a freelancer with just a few repeat clients. You don’t need a huge client roster.
Working again with previous clients cuts out a large part of the process. And it’s less risky for both sides. You already know the client, their way of working, and their business.
You know you meet their expectations.
Hope these thoughts and realisations are helpful for your own freelance journey.
This article may contain affiliate links — I only ever recommend things that I love and use myself.
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